Should Distributors Transition to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations?

November 6, 2018 Greg Williams

We work with many distributors using Microsoft Dynamics NAV successfully, some for many years. Its easy customization and broad catalog of third-party apps has made it a popular solution for many distribution companies. However, as a Dynamics NAV business grows and requires more functionality, they have been required to add more third-party apps and more unique customizations.

Sometimes an organization simply outgrows their software solution. For example, a distributor may want to implement an advanced warehouse management system (WMS) or transportation management system (TMS). Buying a “best of breed” ISV application to address an advanced need can be costly, not just in terms of acquisition, but also ongoing maintenance of the interface between the base system and the third-party app.

When Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations Makes the Most Sense

Many distributors want to implement a WMS and TMS and some wholesale distributors take orders in person at branches and require retail functionality. Having both modules within Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations allows them to have this advanced functionality at no added cost. In addition, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations has more robust inventory and planning capabilities compared to Dynamics NAV. Most Dynamics NAV customers run customized environments on premise, typically with 5-6 ISV solutions. In contrast, most Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations customers run in the cloud and with very few third-party applications needed.

A Real-World Example: Volutone’s Plan

One of our customers, Volutone, reached a similar decision point. With seven stores spanning Southern California and Nevada— moving thousands of products every day—Volutone manages a large warehouse and supply chain operation. After experiencing rapid growth, they found that their 15-year-old Dynamics NAV implementation no longer efficiently supported the volume of business transactions needed, even with the gradual addition of third-party solutions for:

  • Warehousing
  • Shipping
  • Point-of-sale for wholesale centers

They realized it was time to transition to a more robust ERP solution, and one that would integrate all of their processes into one platform to achieve greater automation and efficiencies. Although they did consider upgrading to a newer version of Dynamics NAV, in the end, they chose Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. In addition to back-office financial and accounting capabilities, the cloud-based ERP platform provides all the front-line functions Volutone requires.

As Volutone prepares to deploy and transition to Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, they project the company will realize several key benefits.

  • Moving to the cloud will streamline and lower the cost of system upgrades
  • A new system will provide greater business continuity for store locations
  • The chosen solution allows them to easily adapt to new transaction process requirements

To read more about Volutone’s decision, current implementation, and future plans, please read our full planning story.

When you are evaluating your ERP options and considering a possible transition from Dynamics NAV to Dynamics 365, consider getting professional advice. Western Computer has been helping businesses with their ERP needs for many years and understands the myriad of choices you face. Give us a call today to arrange for a personalized conversation about your organization’s needs. 

About the Author

Greg Williams

As Western Computer's VP of Strategy, Greg Williams is responsible for aligning the company's product and service offerings with customers.

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